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Golf: Lahiri, 11 shots behind, re-sets goal at PGA Championship

Golf - The 146th Open Championship - Royal Birkdale - Southport, Britain - July 20, 2017 India’s Anirban Lahiri hits his tee shot on the fifth hole during the first round REUTERS/Hannah McKay/Files
Golf - The 146th Open Championship - Royal Birkdale - Southport, Britain - July 20, 2017 India’s Anirban Lahiri hits his tee shot on the fifth hole during the first round REUTERS/Hannah McKay/Files

By Larry Fine

CHARLOTTE, North Carolina (Reuters) - A disappointed Anirban Lahiri has given up hope of winning the PGA Championship but is eyeing an under-par finish, he said after falling 11 strokes behind second-round leaders Hideki Matsuyama and Rory McIlroy on Friday.

Lahiri played a bogey-free back nine crowned by a birdie at the last to overcome a loose first nine and post a two-over 73, qualifying for weekend play at Quail Hollow.

The 30-year-old Indian, who tied for second at the Memorial tournament in June, expected more of himself.

"I’m actually quite disappointed with where I am, honestly, but that’s the way it is right now," Lahiri told Reuters after signing for a three-over 145 halfway total.

"I think I’ve been playing pretty good. It’s just these last two days I haven’t scored very well. I missed a lot of putts, had a bunch of three-putts. I think around the green has been poor, but I think tee to green I have been pretty solid.

"I will try to improve on the weekend and try to get a couple of scores under par."

Lahiri said the firmness and speed of the new greens at Quail Hollow has been perplexing.

"It’s a very demanding golf course. You have to be good off the tee and I’ve done that. So I’ve done the hard part, right?

"But it’s also demanding on and around the greens. And I think that is the department where I’ve struggled this week so far," he said.

Lahiri said the roll-outs down grain on the contoured greens can be severe. "That's just how it is. That's rub of the green for you," he said.

Lahiri, who finished fifth at the 2015 PGA Championship, had a specific goal in mind.

"I just want to see if I can get a couple of rounds in the 60s," he said. "I think I’m playing well enough to shoot a couple of good scores under par. I want to finish the tournament in red figures."

(Reporting by Larry Fine; Editing by Andrew Both)

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